UCSB Campus Democrats will host a nonpartisan discussion panel entitled “Implications of the Assassination of Bin Laden” tonight at 7 p.m. in the Loma Pelona Center.
The open forum will feature global studies professor Mark Juergensmeyer, Middle East history professor Nancy Gallagher and political science doctoral candidate Scott Englund, a former FBI analyst with experience in Baghdad’s Green Zone. The conversation will analyze the international and historical implications of bin Laden’s death including its impact on American foreign policy, al-Qaeda’s next expected action and whether the Obama or Bush administration is responsible for the terrorist leader’s demise.
According to Campus Democrats Communication Director Geoffrey Bell, a third-year political science major, the panelists’ past experiences have given them valuable expertise on the topic.
“Professor Juergensmeyer has some really groundbreaking theories on terrorism in the field and will have a lot to say even just about al-Qaeda’s rationale in their actions,” Bell said. “Professor Gallagher is a professor of history with a specialization in U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, so she brings in a lot of terms of the history of how we got to be here. Scott Englund [is] not just a run-of-the-mill FBI employee; he has actually had experience being deployed in the Green Zone in Baghdad [and] will probably have good insight on counterterrorism.”
Bell said all students, regardless of their political opinions, are encouraged to attend.
“If you’ve noticed, we’ve called it a nonpartisan event, not even a bipartisan event, so we are really trying to stay away from identifying this event with a political party,” Bell said. “We’ve reached out to the College Republicans, students, faculty and professors, and we hope that people with a diverse range of opinions will attend. When people hear that it’s hosted by the Campus Democrats, they automatically think there will be a bias, but honestly, we just have a lot of students this year with a strong interest in international politics.”
Campus Democrats Vice President of Events Eduardo Magana, a second-year political science and philosophy major, said the discussion will address a wide array of topics from various policy perspectives.
“You typically see these kinds of events about war and military action hosted by Republican interests, but we feel that it is something that is important to everyone,” Magana said. “This discussion is really about educating people, not about bringing people into Campus Dems. We want people to come and not feel like ‘Oh, it’s the Democrats; they are going to politicize this from their angle.’”
Fourth-year psychology major Haylei Prushansky said the forum fosters political dialogue essential to effective future government policy.
“Discussions like this [will] help people move past the actual event of the U.S. killing bin Laden,” Prushansky said. “Yeah, it happened and it was a big deal, but it’s time to look towards what’s next and what the best decisions are.”